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Vettel suspects Mercedes of sandbagging during practice

Apr 18, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT

Sebastian Vettel AP

Sebastian Vettel believes that there is significant room for improvement for Red Bull in China despite a solid display during practice at the Shanghai International Circuit today.

The German driver finished the first session on Friday morning in ninth place, but improved to finish fifth in FP2 just behind teammate Daniel Ricciardo. Unlike nearest rivals Mercedes and Ferrari, the team did not encounter any problems during practice, but Vettel still is not happy with his pace.

“We didn’t have any major issues today, so it was good in terms of testing,” he said. “There’s a lot for us to do, for me especially as I’m not yet where I want to be, but we made some progress.”

Vettel also suspects that Mercedes were sandbagging their pace during practice, as the great difference between the Silver Arrows and the rest of the field that we saw in Bahrain appears to have shrunk.

“Maybe they didn’t run full beans today,” he said to the media in China. “They are still the favorites and still quite far away.

“I was behind the Mercedes on the long run and it looked like they could do what they want. But it depends what tires you have on the car and what time you go out. Nevertheless, for us, it was a good day, but we are not yet on the level of the Mercedes.”

Earlier this week, the defending Formula 1 world champion set his sights on a top five finish in China, but his long run pace during the second practice session on Friday suggests that he could be in the running for a podium finish.

  1. techmeister1 - Apr 18, 2014 at 3:35 PM

    Seb knows all about sandbagging as he did it for two years. Let’s hope Vettel gets his due and that his car breaks on lap 1.

    • lewymp4 - Apr 19, 2014 at 4:24 PM

      I don’t know why you would want Vettel’s car to break, because I’m looking forward to see how he deals with a head to head fight with Ricciardo, while Lewis is far ahead down the road, and on to his third race in a row……a possible first for Hamilton.

      • lewymp4 - Apr 19, 2014 at 4:25 PM

        correction….third race win in a row.

  2. brookwell2013 - Apr 19, 2014 at 10:47 AM

    Dude needs a PR director full time, always says something negative about someone. Give it a rest Seb and just be quiet and drive the damn car.

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